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Dimension 2350...what's the best brand of memory to get?

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February 12, 2009 1:59:12 AM

hi...
i know this OLD Dino-putersaur isn't worth putting too much money into, but doing some upgrades is all i can do at the moment...my system specs are, Dimension 2350 (about 5-6 years old), P4, 2.2mhz...i currently have 1 256mb stick and 1 512mb stick, but want to replace both with new 512's, but have no idea what brand would be the best choice.
i want to max out the memory at 1Gig and would like recommendations for which brand of memory to get and/or where to confidently buy new mem sticks. i've read several things saying that Kingston is only worth the cheapo price it goes for, but there are so many different brands. the only place i have already gotten a recommendation for is Crucial.com, but dont want to jump at the first thing i see.
the reason i want to replace both, is coz the 256 is the original that came with it, and i have no idea what kind the 512 stick is...i thought it better to just replace both and then know exactly what i have in there.
also, would it make any difference if i use one single 1Gig stick as opposed to two 512mb sticks?
i have already ordered a pci video card and a new psu, so while i have it open, i want to do the new mem thing too.
any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thx.
Jay
February 13, 2009 12:58:21 AM

Jay,
In general, most memory sticks will work with the Dimension 2350. While I think the 2350 would be able to handle a single 1GB stick of memory, it may be better to play it safe and go with the two 512mb sticks. Although you do not know the type or brand of the 512MB stick in your computer, I would recommend keeping that, and simply upgrading the 256MB stick only. Once you take the side cover off the case, you should be able to get some information directly off the ram sticks. Usually there a sticker on there that will tell you the name of the manufacturer and the speed of the memory. Then, it's as simple as buying another compatible stick of memory. I should note that it should not matter is two sticks of memory are from different brands, as long as they have similar speed ratings and other specs match, such as a thing called CAS latency (usually written as CAS 2.5 or CAS 3).

If you would like a recommendation as to manufacturer, I have had excellent luck with Micron memory. Micron is another name for Crucial memory. They are the same company, it's just that Crucial is catered more towards the consumer while Micron is more for the OEM computer maker and for computer servers.

Anyway, I can tell you that the memory you need is 184 pin DDR Ram, 2.5volt, unbuffered, non-registered, non-ECC. Typical speeds that will work are PC2100 and PC2700. PC3200 should also work, but all of them will likely be running at PC2100 speeds when installed in your computer, due to the limitations of your Dell's motherboard.

Here's a nice stick of ram from a trusted computer parts store:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Now, to be honest, I don't think you'll see a lot of benefit from the extra 256MB of ram. If you feel the need to spend some money on your older computer, a better upgrade option would be to put a faster hard drive in it (at least one of the newer 160GB hard drives with 8MB or more of onboard cache) or upgrade the CPU.
February 13, 2009 5:55:58 AM

joefriday said:
Jay,
In general, most memory sticks will work with the Dimension 2350. While I think the 2350 would be able to handle a single 1GB stick of memory, it may be better to play it safe and go with the two 512mb sticks. Although you do not know the type or brand of the 512MB stick in your computer, I would recommend keeping that, and simply upgrading the 256MB stick only. Once you take the side cover off the case, you should be able to get some information directly off the ram sticks. Usually there a sticker on there that will tell you the name of the manufacturer and the speed of the memory. Then, it's as simple as buying another compatible stick of memory. I should note that it should not matter is two sticks of memory are from different brands, as long as they have similar speed ratings and other specs match, such as a thing called CAS latency (usually written as CAS 2.5 or CAS 3).

If you would like a recommendation as to manufacturer, I have had excellent luck with Micron memory. Micron is another name for Crucial memory. They are the same company, it's just that Crucial is catered more towards the consumer while Micron is more for the OEM computer maker and for computer servers.

Anyway, I can tell you that the memory you need is 184 pin DDR Ram, 2.5volt, unbuffered, non-registered, non-ECC. Typical speeds that will work are PC2100 and PC2700. PC3200 should also work, but all of them will likely be running at PC2100 speeds when installed in your computer, due to the limitations of your Dell's motherboard.

Here's a nice stick of ram from a trusted computer parts store:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Now, to be honest, I don't think you'll see a lot of benefit from the extra 256MB of ram. If you feel the need to spend some money on your older computer, a better upgrade option would be to put a faster hard drive in it (at least one of the newer 160GB hard drives with 8MB or more of onboard cache) or upgrade the CPU.


hi Joe...

thx very much for the reply...i did check to see what i have in there, and in slot#1 is a Crucial PC2100 512mb stick i bought way back around 2004, in slot#2 is the original 256mb that came with the pc when i bought it.

as far as using a single 1GB stick, i've been told that it might not work and should just use two 512's.
while waiting for a reply here, i did some homework and discovered exactly what you said about Crucial being related to Micron, and Micron btw does seem to be the best all-in-all, so since i have had excellent luck all these years with the Crucial stick, i'm pretty sure i will get that brand again.

as far as speed, both current sticks are PC2100, and when i get something new, i figured i'd just get two 512's from Crucial (they seem to cost less per stick as a "kit of 2" than just buying a single stick) and wonder what difference there might be with each of these choices (PC2700 and/or PC3200)...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

the 184pin, non-ECC, DDR SDRAM stuff...i do understand that that is what my system needs, so thx for confirming it :) 

a faster HD huh?...never really gave that aspect much thought! i keep all my music (about 500GB worth) on a 750G external HD and have all miscellaneous files, "C drive backup" and a lot of other "junk" on a 250G external HD, so as to not tie up the C drive with too much stuff.

i thought maxing out the ram might help with the new PCI 8400GS video card that i just bought and i'll be installing this weekend as well as a new 410W PSU to handle at least some games...not really into hardcore gaming, just some simple stuff...and wanted the video card to replace the stupid onboard graphics to at least get slightly better videos quality.

finally...lol...NewEgg! you mention that they are a "trusted computer parts store"...
NewEgg FTW!!! they RAWK! ordered my video card and PSU on Tuesday and got them on Thursday!
also Excellent prices too!
i have no problem looking to them first when ever i need something :) 

sorry this is so long...i sure hope you (or anyone else who might bother to read it) hasn't either fallen asleep or died of boredom listening to all my BlahBlahBlah!
:) 


Related resources
November 13, 2009 10:11:04 AM

You should definetly buy a newer hard drive. When i bought one for mine i upgraded to a 7200 RPM for cheap, and i hear the 10,000 were the best thing to come out for the computers and that was 3-4 years ago. Imagine how fast they go now. I think you should upgrade the hard drive with a 10,000 RPM barracuda of your needed size, because when i went from 5200 too 7200, all the windows and folders opened up a lot faster, actually instantly, and access time to files on the drive was a lot quicker (NO MORE HOUR GLASS while opening folders and "my computer"). Thats Gotta do something for overall performance, right?
Check on the label on your hard drive to see how fast yours is.

Also, i just upgraded from only 256MB's RAM on a dell, and added a 512MB, from a brand i've never heard of and it worked fine, and the 2 memory modules are different, but im not sure about the CAS Latency
UPDATE: The Latency's are the same.
I usually buy from crucial.com, which i didn't know until now (thanks "JoeFriday") is the same as MICRON which is listed as compatible modules on some gigabytes motherboard's RAM Requirements.

Also i hear that a certain brand of 1GB RAM modules will work to allow you to upgrade to 2GB RAM, and it was a post to a conversation on these forums.....

---------------------
jives11 04-16-2009 at 10:05:49 AM
Show message
- 0 +

Sorry to wake up an old thread, but you might be interested to know that you can actually put 2Gb of memory in a 2350, despite every dell site saying the maximum is 1Gb. I don't know if this would help your lan server ?

I have an old 2350 which has slowly morphed into a thing, but happily carries on. I had some spare simms and thought " I wonder .....".

the BIOS is A01 (as originally shipped) and the memory is DDR PC2700 184pin SIMMS 2 * 1Gb.
---------------------------------
EXTERNAL INFO:

Memory

Soon after starting down the PCI graphics card route I also upgraded the memory. The Dimension has two memory slots and can support up to 1Gb. I upgraded to a full 1Gb made up of 2 512Mb PC-2700 simms. I have also played around with the accompanying page file, experimenting with having no page file. In the end I created a dedicated page file partition of 5Gb on my second hard disk and created a maximum size 4096Mb page file in it. I disabled XP recovery mode on that partition. the evidence was that having no page file made no appreciable difference and some large games (i.e. S.T.A.L.K.E.R) might exceed my 1Gb memory capacity.

Based on feedback I received from Robert, I tried 2Gb of memory (2 * 1Gb SIMMS) and the Dell is able to see this in both the BIOS and XP, so now I'm running this machine with 2Gb main memory + 4096Mb page file in it's own partition.

I try to keep the number of processes to a bare minimum, thus maximising the available memory for games by the following :

* reducing the number of services to the bare essentials via control panel >Administration >Services. If in doubt I set them to Manual rather than automatic and see if the server still functions OK
* Ensuring that few if any programs are run at startup. Plenty of software will add something to your start-up when installing. If you ever install something that requires a reboot, its a pretty sure bet that it has either added a service or a start-up script. Sometime these are necessary for the running of the product i.e. Norton Ghost, but often it's just a lazy background update programs. While small they all take up memory and some processing power.
* Checking that no extra tool bars have attached themselves to the browser. I have noticed that various parasitic programs seem to be able to attach themselves to IE in the guise of tool bars. Some are valid, like the google tool bar, others seem to be designed to misdirect your browsing to sponsored sites. I try locking down the Internet Explorer tool bar via it's settings, then checking from time to time what has attached itself using HijackThis

If I reboot the PC , then login, then wait a few minutes for XP to settle I see 18 processes running in Task Manager. A neighbours PC which had some malware problems had 67 processes running. Now some were due to specific graphics or sound cards and were necessary, but you see what can happen.
-----------------------
END OF QUOTE
-----------------------

just thought i add some info for any google searchers out there, even though this is an old thread 6+ months, and might get deleted.

now i must continue to try and find compatible and cost effective processors to upgrade this aging dynobeast!
November 13, 2009 2:27:15 PM

thx for all the info trance...
however, i'm not nearly tech savy enough (and/or comfortable) replacing my HD myself, even though i do have everything backed up on my external HD, i'd have no idea how to get everything (settings, files, folders, etc, etc) back after the HD upgrade. if i would ever do that upgrade, i'm sure i'd want to have someone do it for me (preferably while i watch, so i can learn such things).
also, about the 2GB RAM, hmmm, sounds interesting and i'd love to have 2GB, but at this time, i dont think i want to put out the money for 2 new mem sticks (again) and then get lost (or worse, mess something up) while trying to mess around with the "page file" thing you mention (whatever that is!)
anyone in the Phiily suburb area who would want to help/teach me this stuff, i'd be more than glad to talk with you.
November 18, 2009 10:29:02 AM

OK,

Basically the hardware process is very easy to do, unplugging the hard drive and putting in the new one before you do that you'll want to backup your information and copy it to the new hdd... You will notice that there is only 1 IDE cable in the 2350, which allows for either 1 Hard drive and 1 cd/dvd-rom (or Burner) at the same time. This is alright because all you have to do is unplug the cd-rom and plug in the new hard drive alongside your original, so that when you log in, it shows as another hard drive letter in "my computer".

http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:H2m8eZ_tjJQJ:suppor...

FOR RAM (Random Access Memory) REPLACEMENT:
http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim2350/r...

FOR HARD DRIVE REPLACEMENT INSTRUCTIONS:
http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim2350/r...


The Hardest thing to do with computers is backing your information and When Upgrading the RAM, keeping yourself grounded so that you dont ZAP the Memory, IVE never had a problem with this... Just keep touching the metal casing on the computer every once in a while while working inside. Just 5 seconds is enouph to keep static off you:

Use this program to backup your files or Just use the software that WILL come with your particular brand of (HDD) Hard Drive:

http://www.acronis.com/promo/ATIH2010/ATISpecific/index...

OR THIS TRIAL:
http://www.acronis.com/enterprise/download/backup-recov...

OR USE THIS LINK IF YOU CANT AFFORD IT:

http://www.downarchive.com/software/system/54311-acroni...

DIRECT LINK:
http://hotfile.com/dl/16571497/813c1b1/TI20106029en.rar...
select REGULAR DOWNLOAD, wait 30 seconds, new page will load, "click here to download" link will apear and voila you have the program. :bounce: 

----------------------------------------------
This Is the one im going to use,
but you might not need it because
it has extra content like the bootcd
which is useful for emergencies!!
----------------------------------------------
http://www.downarchive.com/software/system/56147-acroni...
-------------------------------------
Above for advanced users
might not fit on 1 cd
-------------------------------------


Backup Guide and easy to follow instructions:

http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:1xW5rnpI-u4J:www.ug...

"I QUOTED THIS FROM ABOVE DOCUMENT"
What type of backup software is available: There are two very different backup utilities on the market today -- File backup utilities and Partition backup utilities. File backup utilities are by far the most common. These utilities backup individual files one at a time. They can also be used to restore individual files to your hard drive. A good feature of File backup utilities is that they can select individual files from all parts of your hard drive. This is great for picking and choosing your important data files to backup. On the other hand, File backup utilities tend to be quite slow in backing up your entire hard drive and you would need to make many extra steps in rebuilding your hard drive partitions in case of a total failure. That is where Partition backup utilities have the advantage. Partition backup utilities backup entire partitions and all the files contained in them. Some of these Partition backup utilities work at the lowest hardware level and are very fast. Restoring a partition to an empty hard drive using a partition backup utility will create and format partitions as it restores the partition file.

Acronis Corporation has an excellent backup software package that will easily backup your entire hard drive. This product is called True Image and has a list price of $50. Let's take a look at how this utility can be used to backup your entire system.

Backing up your entire hard drive: The most important part of your backup plan is to backup your entire hard drive at least once a month. Having this backup in place will protect you from a major failure of your entire hard drive. Using Acronis True Image to backup your entire hard drive you have two approaches to select from. Let's look at each of these approaches separately.

The first full-drive backup approach is to use True Image to copy all of the partitions from your main hard drive to a backup hard drive. Both hard drives must be installed on the same computer system to do this approach. Using True Image's Disk Clone facility, you copy the partitions from your main drive to the backup drive, one at a time. When True Image copies a partition, it creates a new partition on the backup drive, so the drive can be empty of partitions before you start the process. Also, copying a partition copies not only the partition, but also all of the hidden files, system files, and other files contained in the partition to the backup hard drive. So, when you finish copying all of the partitions from your main drive to the backup drive, you have an exact duplicate of your main drive that could be used if your main drive failed.

After copying all of the partitions to your backup hard drive, you need to disconnect the backup drive and remove it from your computer system. You should store the drive away from your computer, so that if anything happens to your computer, your backup drive will not be affected, too. Once a month, you'll need to retrieve this backup hard drive and insert and connect it back into your computer and repeat the backing up of all of your partitions, then remove it again from your computer. If something should happen to your main hard drive, simply get your backup hard drive and replace your main hard drive with the backup drive, setting it as a master drive, and you should be able to immediately start your computer and have it run. To simplify the frequent removal and replacement of your backup hard drive, you can purchase a hard drive rack mounting system from your computer store for about $25 that will let you remove and insert the drive without removing the covers of your computer.
/"END QUOTE"

When you successfully back up your hard drive and verify that it works by booting into it, making it the first hdd on the IDE chain, or by simply taking out the old one and putting the new one in, you can use the old one as a backup, or erase the hard drive, and use it as extra 2nd hard drive, but you have to get a "usb enclosure" or (External HDD case) for it, because your still going to want to use your cd-rom/dvd-rom or whatever you had in there, which you will plug back into the same connector it was plugged into. Im checking now, and the middle ide black connector, not the one on the end is the PRIMARY Hard Drive or Device, and the IDE connector at the end of the cable is the secondary for your cd-rom. But it all depends on the jumper on the device your plugging in. This works if each device's jumper is set to "Cable Select". Look on the label of each device you add into the computer, be it a hard drive or dvdburner, and it will show you the pinout for Cable Select (CS), for the jumper...

IT is MOST IMPORTANT to make sure you have at least 512MB' of RAM for windows XP, which i was only running 256MB, which is why my father ended up giving this computer to me. I upgraded it with 2x 512MB's of RAM 1 at a time and when i recieved the first 512MB, along with the 256MB's i had, it was like a totally different computer. Im really suprised my dad was able to go without it for the 7 years he's been using this dell dimension 2350. The RAM will improve your performance more than a hard drive depending on how big the programs are that you are running. If you already have 512-756MB's of RAM, it might not make a big difference. So getting a graphics card might do more than the ram upgrade would, UNLESS your using photoshop, or playing games with the computer, which i havent had experience with, because thats not what im into. Now that i think of it, im going to go try out the n64 emulator that worked great 7years ago on this with the 256MB's of RAM, and see if the 1GB helps out even more, most likely not though because EMULATION is more based on the calculations (Processor), than the RAM, and maybe ill even get a graphics card...

Peice OUT
November 18, 2009 3:11:05 PM

trancemix09 said:
OK,

Basically the hardware process is very easy to do, unplugging the hard drive and putting in the new one before you do that you'll want to backup your information and copy it to the new hdd... You will notice that there is only 1 IDE cable in the 2350, which allows for either 1 Hard drive and 1 cd/dvd-rom (or Burner) at the same time. This is alright because all you have to do is unplug the cd-rom and plug in the new hard drive alongside your original, so that when you log in, it shows as another hard drive letter in "my computer".

http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:H2m8eZ_tjJQJ:suppor...

FOR RAM (Random Access Memory) REPLACEMENT:
http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim2350/r...

FOR HARD DRIVE REPLACEMENT INSTRUCTIONS:
http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim2350/r...


The Hardest thing to do with computers is backing your information and When Upgrading the RAM, keeping yourself grounded so that you dont ZAP the Memory, IVE never had a problem with this... Just keep touching the metal casing on the computer every once in a while while working inside. Just 5 seconds is enouph to keep static off you:

Use this program to backup your files or Just use the software that WILL come with your particular brand of (HDD) Hard Drive:

http://www.acronis.com/promo/ATIH2010/ATISpecific/index...

OR THIS TRIAL:
http://www.acronis.com/enterprise/download/backup-recov...

OR USE THIS LINK IF YOU CANT AFFORD IT:

http://www.downarchive.com/software/system/54311-acroni...

DIRECT LINK:
http://hotfile.com/dl/16571497/813c1b1/TI20106029en.rar...
select REGULAR DOWNLOAD, wait 30 seconds, new page will load, "click here to download" link will apear and voila you have the program. :bounce: 

----------------------------------------------
This Is the one im going to use,
but you might not need it because
it has extra content like the bootcd
which is useful for emergencies!!
----------------------------------------------
http://www.downarchive.com/software/system/56147-acroni...
-------------------------------------
Above for advanced users
might not fit on 1 cd
-------------------------------------


Backup Guide and easy to follow instructions:

http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:1xW5rnpI-u4J:www.ug...

"I QUOTED THIS FROM ABOVE DOCUMENT"
What type of backup software is available: There are two very different backup utilities on the market today -- File backup utilities and Partition backup utilities. File backup utilities are by far the most common. These utilities backup individual files one at a time. They can also be used to restore individual files to your hard drive. A good feature of File backup utilities is that they can select individual files from all parts of your hard drive. This is great for picking and choosing your important data files to backup. On the other hand, File backup utilities tend to be quite slow in backing up your entire hard drive and you would need to make many extra steps in rebuilding your hard drive partitions in case of a total failure. That is where Partition backup utilities have the advantage. Partition backup utilities backup entire partitions and all the files contained in them. Some of these Partition backup utilities work at the lowest hardware level and are very fast. Restoring a partition to an empty hard drive using a partition backup utility will create and format partitions as it restores the partition file.

Acronis Corporation has an excellent backup software package that will easily backup your entire hard drive. This product is called True Image and has a list price of $50. Let's take a look at how this utility can be used to backup your entire system.

Backing up your entire hard drive: The most important part of your backup plan is to backup your entire hard drive at least once a month. Having this backup in place will protect you from a major failure of your entire hard drive. Using Acronis True Image to backup your entire hard drive you have two approaches to select from. Let's look at each of these approaches separately.

The first full-drive backup approach is to use True Image to copy all of the partitions from your main hard drive to a backup hard drive. Both hard drives must be installed on the same computer system to do this approach. Using True Image's Disk Clone facility, you copy the partitions from your main drive to the backup drive, one at a time. When True Image copies a partition, it creates a new partition on the backup drive, so the drive can be empty of partitions before you start the process. Also, copying a partition copies not only the partition, but also all of the hidden files, system files, and other files contained in the partition to the backup hard drive. So, when you finish copying all of the partitions from your main drive to the backup drive, you have an exact duplicate of your main drive that could be used if your main drive failed.

After copying all of the partitions to your backup hard drive, you need to disconnect the backup drive and remove it from your computer system. You should store the drive away from your computer, so that if anything happens to your computer, your backup drive will not be affected, too. Once a month, you'll need to retrieve this backup hard drive and insert and connect it back into your computer and repeat the backing up of all of your partitions, then remove it again from your computer. If something should happen to your main hard drive, simply get your backup hard drive and replace your main hard drive with the backup drive, setting it as a master drive, and you should be able to immediately start your computer and have it run. To simplify the frequent removal and replacement of your backup hard drive, you can purchase a hard drive rack mounting system from your computer store for about $25 that will let you remove and insert the drive without removing the covers of your computer.
/"END QUOTE"

When you successfully back up your hard drive and verify that it works by booting into it, making it the first hdd on the IDE chain, or by simply taking out the old one and putting the new one in, you can use the old one as a backup, or erase the hard drive, and use it as extra 2nd hard drive, but you have to get a "usb enclosure" or (External HDD case) for it, because your still going to want to use your cd-rom/dvd-rom or whatever you had in there, which you will plug back into the same connector it was plugged into. Im checking now, and the middle ide black connector, not the one on the end is the PRIMARY Hard Drive or Device, and the IDE connector at the end of the cable is the secondary for your cd-rom. But it all depends on the jumper on the device your plugging in. This works if each device's jumper is set to "Cable Select". Look on the label of each device you add into the computer, be it a hard drive or dvdburner, and it will show you the pinout for Cable Select (CS), for the jumper...

IT is MOST IMPORTANT to make sure you have at least 512MB' of RAM for windows XP, which i was only running 256MB, which is why my father ended up giving this computer to me. I upgraded it with 2x 512MB's of RAM 1 at a time and when i recieved the first 512MB, along with the 256MB's i had, it was like a totally different computer. Im really suprised my dad was able to go without it for the 7 years he's been using this dell dimension 2350. The RAM will improve your performance more than a hard drive depending on how big the programs are that you are running. If you already have 512-756MB's of RAM, it might not make a big difference. So getting a graphics card might do more than the ram upgrade would, UNLESS your using photoshop, or playing games with the computer, which i havent had experience with, because thats not what im into. Now that i think of it, im going to go try out the n64 emulator that worked great 7years ago on this with the 256MB's of RAM, and see if the 1GB helps out even more, most likely not though because EMULATION is more based on the calculations (Processor), than the RAM, and maybe ill even get a graphics card...

Peice OUT


thx for all the info trance...i have upgraded the memory myself in the past with no issues, as i am very familiar with ESD and the safety precautioons needed to prevent it...my system is now maxed out at 1GB now.
and i will look into all the "back-up" info you gave as well, but i'm still a little putoff by the whole process of replacing the HD, as i stated, my tech savy is not quite what i wish it was and even though i'm pretty sure that my main HD "is" backed up on my external HD, i wouldnt be comfortable with taking a chance of screwing something up, even with one of those programs you suggested.
for now, with the RAM maxed out and my nVidia 8400GS, i think i'll just live with what i have unless i come across someone local who is willing to do it for me (while i watch so i can learn such things).
November 18, 2009 4:08:58 PM

Well,

If i were you id grab a copy of the free file i provided... Acronis True Image, because i just did and already seems to be the best program out there to do the job. I do this procedure almost twice a month switching internal hdd's to free up space, and re-install windows, and ive used norton ghost in the past, but its not nearly as good and user friendly as this seems to be. Im going to some backups in the next few days onto dvd, because im running out of disk space, even with a total of about 2300 GB's 2.3 TB's..lol :o 

You should grab the file because these rapidshare links tend to dissapear once a lot of people catch on, and still then its just a matter of searching google for "Rapidshare" + the name of the software you want... You should probably practice with the software anyway before you do a full system backup, which you can do buy creating a small partition and backing it up with this program onto yet another partition of equal or greater size. Norton Partition Magic is very good at making Partitions out of free space, although this program (acronis) might be able too also.

CREATING PARTITIONS:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/309000/



have fun,

thanks for reminding me to backup my files
!